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East Anglia planners urge Byers to dual, not widen A47

PLANNERS IN East Anglia this week launched a bid to have a government transport study backing widening over dualling of the A47 in Norfolk restarted.

East Anglia's regional planning body, the East of England Local Government Conference (EELGC), wants more studies to be carried out before a decision is made on an environmentally sensitive 12km stretch between Acle and Great Yarmouth.

EELGC wrote to transport secretary Stephen Byers this week expressing its concerns about the A47 road based study carried out by consultant Maunsell for the Department of Transport Local Government & the Regions.

The study recommends that the Acle to Yarmouth section through protected marshland, should be widened from 6.8m to 9.3m.

The £18.2M widening is preferred to the £31.4M dualling because far less environmental damage would be inflicted.

A Maunsell spokesman claimed that the 18 month study had given it 'reasonable' time to make a sound recommendation.

The report states: 'The dualling could quadruple the loss of marshland and scale of visual intrusion.'

But EELGC has told Byers that the economic and environmental case for widening instead of dualling had not been justified. It wants a full environmental impact assessment for both options and adds that local people and businesses 'overwhelmingly' backed dualling the route.

The claims mirror the debate over the proposed Hastings bypass that was finally blocked by Byers in June.

EELGC fears that widening the road would take up to 18 months and cause more traffic disruption than dualling.

It also doubted that widening would cut traffic accidents on a road renowned for head on collisions and cars crashing into water filled dykes on either side of the road.


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